Fiction, 285 pages
This book begins, harmlessly enough, as Vlad Taltos, fresh from fighting the Jenoine and losing a good friend, risks a meal at his favorite restaurant. Though planning to dine alone, he soon finds himself in the company of a Dzurlord and Mario Greymist, the Jhereg assassin.
The Jhereg want Vlad killed, but Mario isn't there for that reason. Mario comes on behalf of a mutual friend—one concerned about a political situation involving Cawti, Vlad's ex-wife.
After a brief sojurn to Sethra Lavode's fortress on Dzur Mountain, Vlad returns to South Adrilankha to remedy the problem. Along the way, Vlad meets old friends, makes new enemies, and comes up with a few tricks.
Vlad Taltos would deserve a place beside the hard-boiled detectives of fiction, except that he's an assassin, not a detective, and resides in Dragaera, a fantasy realm.
About three-fourths of Brust's prolific writing is set in Dragaera, a land the ruling Dragaerans, a tall long-lived people, grudgingly share with the shorter, short-lived Easterners. Like other Easterners, Vlad Taltos is a member of an oppressed minority. Unlike most Easterners, Vlad holds a title in House Jhereg, and has several prominent Dragaeran friends. Not only is Vlad unique, he may be the only living Easterner to have spoken directly with the goddess, Verra.
Brust's Khaavren romances span centuries, while his Vlad Taltos novels span mere decades. The Taltos novels are shorter, and faster paced than those concerning the long-lived Dragaerans. Both series are well done, but it might be best to start with the Taltos novels before savoring the Khaavren romances which introduce some of Vlad's Dragaeran friends and provide the overall back story.